Life as we know it

Our family adventures

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Race week!

This is it, the final count down!

Today’s work day is almost over, thank goodness. The worse kind of Monday is the one after a long weekend and before vacation. I have only 3 more days of work. Only 4 more days til we head to California and 5 days til the race.

This morning I went out in the dark and ran 5 miles. Its funny, I always drag my feet when running in the dark and cold. But I always end up happy I did. Its a nice solitary time. I’m still undecided about running in the dark and cold after the race, however!

So I’ll run on Thursday, 2 or 3 miles. Then it will be the race. Its strange that is so close now. We decided to put together this relay team back in July, almost five months ago. At that time I was trying to get started again after dealing with shin splints. Now its here. And I’ve been successful in my training. Though my one and only 7-miler was a month ago, I’m not worried. I’ve run 5 and 6 miles lots of times and I made it through my 10K last week in a really tough race. I can run 7 miles.

My only real concern is what food to eat during the race. I’d used shot blocks a few times with mixed results, but Thursday was terrible results.

The early forecast for race day included rain, but as of right now, predicts partly cloudy with a low of 40 and high of 54. When is the last time the temperature was 54 here? That will feel tropical during the race, compared to the Berbee Derby!

We’ve got a lot to do. There’s plenty of packing for Allie as well as for me and Doug. We’re going to pack in order to check only one bag and save some money that way. There’s laundry to do. Items that need to be picked up. I made a trip yesterday to get some things but of course something is always forgotten. I’d like to get all ready while still keeping the house clean because its so satisfying to come home to a clean house. And of course we have to work this week and feed ourselves. Its going to be a busy week. But it’ll be worth it!

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Monkeyin’ around

Saturday after we had our family Thanksgiving dinner, we stayed in Rockford. Dave, Jeni’s fiance, was having a poker night and Doug was playing. Since us girls didn’t want to hang with the boys, we found other fun activities! Thanks to Aunt Jeni for suggesting Monkey Joe’s!

I didn’t know how Allie would react to being presented with a big inflatable cage to jump in. Turns out she loved it. They had a mini zone for kids under 3 and it was perfect for Allie. She even crawled right in on her own.
Mama and Aunt Jeni loved it too! I think the best part was that we got to go in with her (parents can accompany kids up to age 4). This is just the beginning of all the fun things I can do with my baby. I’ve already found a place like this here in Madison (that just happens to be practically next to our house! Who knew?), which we will visit soon.

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The Durso Family feast

This year the Durso family had two Thanksgiving dinners. One was with my entire family on Saturday (everyone was there, that hardly ever happens!) and the other took place on Friday, with just the three of us.

I love baking pies. I just wish it didn’t take so long. The dinner preparation started with baking the pumpkin pie. Above, the crust. I think I did a pretty good job with this one.

And pouring the filling into the crust. Then… we bake. The recipe said an hour, and I think mine took an hour and a half.

After the pie was done, then it was time for the turkey to go in the oven. Last year I just cooked a turkey breast. Two years ago, I did a whole turkey. But that one didn’t get thawed all the way, so it didn’t get cooked all the way. It was gross. This bird, however, turned out great!

The finished pie on the stove, and now its the bird’s turn in the oven! Set the timer for three hours and then we eat!

Three hours after I put it in, I took the turkey out. Not only was the turkey done, it was a little overdone. I got temps of 175 in the breast and off the thermometer on the thigh. It only had to be 165.

And here’s Dada carving. Since the turkey was done all the way, the carving was way easier.

I prepared a little plate for Allie. She had everything we had, except for the gravy.

Thanksgiving dinner was a big hit. She loved turkey, corn, stuffing, the bread, everything.

And then look at all those leftovers! There’s plenty of turkey in our future! That’s the remnants of a 10-pound bird! We’ve already started working on it, but there’s still a lot left. I need to look for some leftover turkey recipes…
We kinda fell asleep and/or got too full to have pie after dinner on Friday. So we had the next best thing… pie for breakfast on Saturday! Allie loooooved the pie. She’s had a lot of sweets over the last few days, her first ever. We need to keep that under wraps for awhile now so she doesn’t think thats normal.
So in conclusion, the Durso Family feast was a smashing success!

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First "real" holidays

Allie’s first holiday was Halloween, but she was only a few hours old at the time. Last Thanksgiving she was a month old and still sleeping all the time. Same with Christmas. I’m really excited to start this year’s holiday season with a baby who, while she still sleeps a lot, is awake too!

So this year we consider her first “real” holidays. Unfortunately she missed out on Halloween because she was sick. But we’ve taken full advantage of Thanksgiving! Allie had her first Thanksgiving dinner last night, and it was a hit. She’ll have another today at my parents’ house. There will be up to 25 people there! I’m almost done baking 72 dinner rolls to take along. Thats a big dinner.

We’ll be taking plenty of pictures! I’m so excited to share these holidays with our baby and also with the blog!

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Giving thanks

On this Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for my amazing and beautiful little girl, who is growing up WAY too fast!
I am thankful for her great dad, my wonderful husband, who does everything he can to make me and Allie happy.
I am even thankful for our only slightly mellow Monk.
I am thankful to be EMPLOYED and looking forward to a real Christmas. I am thankful we can spend time this holiday season with all our family.
I am thankful for the ability to run. Even though my body isn’t in the composition I’d like it to be, I am thankful my body allowed me to give birth and that it allows me to run. I would never have met some of my best friends (real life or virtual) if I didn’t run.
We didn’t have turkey today. I ran the Berbee Derby this morning (check out my race report here!) and my family came because my brother ran it too. We just had chili and sandwiches at our house after. Doug, Allie and I will have a little Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I’m braving a whole turkey and also baking a pumpkin pie. One of these years I’ll tackle real stuffing, but this year its just from a box. No Black Friday shopping though. Saturday is Thanksgiving with my family. We could have 25 people there!
Its a glorious long weekend here, something else I am thankful for!

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Like a Thanksgiving Day parade… only faster!

This morning I finally ran the Berbee Derby. I remember hearing about it my first year in Madison, but it never worked out (and I wasn’t really a runner then). I signed up for it two years ago after I was injured, but before I knew how bad it was. So I already had a shirt, but I wanted to run it!

Back in September when I ran 6 miles, which was my longest run in two years, I said my comeback was complete. Well, I suppose I consider this my comeback complete because two years ago I ran a great half in September and some great races in the fall. I was getting faster and then I got hurt.

Initial weather forecasts last week had today’s temp between like 13 and 17. What we got was a lot better… about 31. It was all rainy and yucky last night and I actually saw some snow or maybe sleet falling as I went to get in the car and head to the race. But race time was clear of precipitation.

My brother was running the 10K too and our parents and two of our sisters came as well, though I’m not sure they watched much! Unfortunately Doug and I decided it was too cold for Allie, so he and Allie stayed home. I rode with my family and we got there in plenty of time to get a good parking spot. I signed up with the Team in Training team and we got to pick up our packets and wait INSIDE for the start! That was awesome. Indoors also meant no using porta potties!

Anyway, Jacob and I headed out to the start at about 5 minutes to 9. I had one what’s become my normal layers, capris with long pants over them, a long sleeve compression shirt, short sleeve over it and then my hoodie over that. I had on my gloves and new team in training stocking cap. I had also bought a headband ear warmer last night and decided to wear that as well. Waiting at the start and then once I started running I was a little too warm.

Jacob and I started together but he left me almost immediately because he’s really fast and I’m not. I was trying to run relaxed, though my first mile split was 11:13, way too fast for me. I usually go out too fast in 5Ks just because they’re shorter and I want to be done. This time I went out too fast but I did feel relaxed. My second was 11:43, closer to my normal for racing.

I had my normal wanting to stop that I get when starting races, but I didn’t stop until I walked through the water stop at the 5K turnaround. The hills were rolling and I was running them just fine. The first half of my race was great. My third mile time was 11:38. I wish I would have set my splits to show the kilometers because I’m pretty sure I set another 5K PR.

Unfortunately, the second half was another story. The course turned back just before mile 3 and we headed into the wind. I got real cold and was glad I had my layers. I ran pretty well until I got to the second water stop, which was where the route joined the Capital City Trail. I walked ahead of it to have my shot blocks. I had my water and I was ready to start running again, but it got really really hard. I was cold and my legs were getting really heavy. To add to it, the shot blocks didn’t sit well. I’ve used them twice before and once they were great and the second time they were iffy. Well, today they were awful and did not sit well at all.

I ran OK for a bit after that, but I just got colder and my stomach was sloshing around. I got to the point during mille 5 when I was walking more than running. Mile 4 was 13:14 and mile 5 was 12:47. Once I was into mile 6, I was really trying to run again, but then I saw the hill. And I lost feeling in my legs. And my stomach felt like it was going to fall out. So I decided to run downhills and walk the uphills. They were still rolling before the big one but I just didn’t have it. I can usually pick up in the last mile with the thought that I only have about 12 minutes left. But I knew I had more than that though. Who’s idea is it to make the last mile of a 10K up hill? And especially such a steep hill? My mile 6 time was 14:26, eeek!

I struggled up the hill that wasn’t continuous, so I was able to run a few strides here and there. When I finally got to the top, about .4 from the finish, I was able to start running again. In fact, I was back to my previous pace. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. But I’m also happy with my race. I’ve avoided 10Ks since I started racing again, partly for my fear of finishing last. Considering we ran into the wind, my shot blocks didn’t sit well, and there was such a hill at the end, I’m satisfied!

My official time is 1:17:59, good enough for overall 12:34 pace, which is awesome. My training pace is anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute slower. I’d predicted about 1:15. If I could have kept it up a little better, I would have blown that away. But there’s always next time. What really matters is I finally ran my 10K, which is also my final long run before CIM. Next weekend is the ultimate goal of my comeback to running over the last summer and fall.

As an aside, I’m delighted my shirt is red. I ran two other races this fall and both shirts were blue. I totally expected this shirt to be blue too!